Monday, December 16, 2013

I love you

Bear with me.

My son is turning 8 in a couple of days. My beautiful blue eyed boy...with all of his freckles and curiosity and energy and love of Pokemon...he is going to be 8.

I rejoice that my baby has good health. I am happy that he is safe...that he is happy (I guess?) that he has a room of his own and legos. I'm happy that he gets his breakfast at 8 am ...if there were a nuclear attack Brady would make sure that he had his breakfast...amidst the fire and flames and terror...he would have his 8 o'clock breakfast. I'm also glad that he enjoys his 3 pm snack and his 6 pm dinner (as long as I am serving what he likes...if not he doesn't eat it and no one is worse for the wear.)

However, tonight I'm deeply sad.

"Goodnight Brady" I whispered...searching his face. He stared at the wall and raised his eyebrows "oh " he muttered and then made a noise, deep in his throat. "I love you" I said. He nodded and made the noise again, his eyes avoiding mine - I turned out the light and closed his door.

I want him to say "goodnight mom, I love you." I want that.

My boy is going to be 8 in a couple of days. To some people that is really me it means i have about ten more years to help him learn to function in greet people, to spread peanut butter on his bread, to say to someone who is sick "is there something I can get you?" instead of "your crying noises are annoying." I feel as if I'm working against the clock. I try to take one day at a time...but each day...I'm still greeted with a blank stare...a word or two about what kind of food we will be consuming, and the amazingness of Pokemon.

I love my child. I want to know that he loves me.

Perhaps I'm not sad - maybe I'm just impatient. I know he needs me...I know I make his world turn. I just want him to say it. Maybe someday he will meet a girl who will say "you know my love, your mom is really nice. Whenever we meet someone that is really nice and they help us a whole lot and love us, we tell them we love them. Maybe next time you see her you can say "uh, mom? I love you."

Maybe he will meet that girl and she will help him. Maybe he will learn it from a book? I don't care. I just want to hear it someday.

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” 
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It Will Be Christmas

We're decking the halls...bringing out the lights and wreathes, the handmade elf (on it's way to becoming a family heirloom) the snow globes and the ornaments of all shapes and sizes and glittery color - but more importantly we are preparing our hearts for the birth of our Precious Savior and what the gift of His life truly means for us....

Last year my Grandma Grace sent us her lovely nativity scene so it is our new tradition to first unwrap all of the delicate pieces...each one like a present all their own...and then we talk about what it would have been like that dark night so long ago...was it windy and cold or warm and balmy? Was the sky sparkling with diamond like stars or was it calm and quiet and dark .... if you listened closely could anyone hear the angels singing to the shepherds or was the choir song only for their ears? 
Christmas ... what a beautiful nostalgic time of the year. 

 “Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeers, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas.” 
― Ronald Reagan

We made the decision last year, when funds were quite tight, that we would use an artificial tree for the first time. I do miss going to the Christmas tree farm and finding the oh-so-perfect fir for our house, the cold noses and the mitten hands and the smell of earth in our house. But...thinking on the positives...this year I didn't have to pay for a tree at all, there is no mess to clean up...I don't have to try and wrangle 8 gloves on  8 little hands (that's a task in itself)... and the tree is still "tree like" in spirit although deep inside, I'm sure he knows he's a fake. 
The kids drank their customary cup of hot cocoa while the daddy figure twisted on the lights :)

Such a good man. This year we have been so blessed with extra work for Zac. He has worked a couple of side jobs stringing lights on rather large houses...with rather high roofs...risking life and limb ...for a rather pretty penny. We are blessed - the extra work has made it possible to give Brady a pretty special birthday gift in the next couple of weeks, paid for our Christmas and someone else's...God always shows His love for our family in such unexpected ways.

I gave each child their ornament for the year - they were elated and I was pleased with myself. I write the date and their names on the bottom of each ornament in hopes that when they are older they can take their own box of ornaments with them to their own homes. It's a sweet tradition and it's always fun picking out an ornament that represents their year or their personality. 

 “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” 
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

Since Trinity got to top the tree last year...Brady called "dibs" on the honor a few weeks ago ... he didn't forget. He said it would be Tristan's turn next year, then Finn's...and around and around we go until his turn again in the year 2017. 

I love trees that have themes or are color coordinated - but the more time that passes my favorite trees have become the ones that my kids decorate...the bunched up ornaments, the felt dinosaurs and the soccer balls and teddy bears, the bells and snow balls and all of the "baby's first Christmas" I have been given. After the kids are in bed at night and it's just me and the sparkling tree and a cup of tea, I look at the ornaments and smile and think of their little chubby hands running to the tree and almost throwing on all of the sparkle..hurrying to find out what the next ornament coming out of the box will be. I love the joy and delight and just thinking of it in the evenings makes me EVERY ...SINGLE...NIGHT! I just love my littles and this time of year. I didn't even have the heart to rearrange the tree....much. 

And then, as if Mother Nature knew that our tree was up...she brought in 8 inches or so of snow. So, we have been crafting and crafting and drinking cup of tea after cup of tea...cheese toast and apple slices...listening to Christmas Carols and wrapping gifts for others (some for ourselves. ) Trinity and I made little paper gingerbread men sprinkled with cinnamon...a fun cheap craft that we can hang from twine around our windows. 

We also dipped hands in paint, laid them flat on a paper...and then once the hand was dry each child was able to decorate their own "squad" of snowmen. I had some fake snow that they glued to the bottom of the paper...once again...a cheap craft that kids love. You can also do this idea on an ornament but it's a little bit trickier.

The stockings are hung ...I am loving Trinity's presents that she put under the tree. She spent about a hour in her room and came out with notebook and masking taped gifts for all ...I'm assuming little trinkets from her room? I love her giving spirit - not just during Christmas but all year long. Zac also loves to give gifts...there are a couple of cabinets in our house that are off limits to myself - my stocking is almost always stuffed beyond capacity. I've been known to give him a hard time about this in the past with "that's not in the budget" and "lets keep it simple and send money to homeless kids."
He says "yes" to sending the homeless kids money but "no" to my wanting him to not spend money on me. He likes to spoil me ... and i'm fine with that. Hey, someones gotta take care of me...might as well be a hunk. No complaints here. Make me a bath while you're at it.
 In case you are wondering, the giant star that you see is a paper star that I actually hung in that corner sometime ago...but I kept it there thinking it would just look like a reflection of the smaller star in front.

And what would be a snowy day without some sweet treat of sorts? I had some organic frozen peaches from Costco in the freezer so I mixed the kids up a cobbler...cinnamon oat goodness. 

Finn helped himself. And yes...I did try to dress him several times. He prefers to be "free." 

We made ornaments...which obviously requires great concentration and the tip of your tongue to be sticking if it centers your mind or your balance or something special like that. 

Luigi learning to cook - working on those "life skills."

 “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 
― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

 Here are our ornaments, catching some sun. I think they turned out cute, colorful , and childlike which is exactly what I was after. I think ornament making will have to be put on the "tradition" list...but next year we will need to start earlier so we can actually use them as gifts to others.

 It's still snowy outside but we are warm inside, waiting for our hero to come home (aka husband, father) and give us word of the outside world :)  I think he has a special surprise in store for the two older kids so I will stay in while Finn naps and sip tea and admire my tea (okay okay...and maybe fold some laundry while I'm admiring....) and I will think on my gifts that God gives to me everyday with my heath, my wealth, my little loves...a warm home with luxuries like heat and pots and pans, a cabinet of food, slippers and sweaters and black olives and soap and even paper towels when I'm not being "green" ... and I will thank Him for His Son and will try to not take my blessings for granted. 

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans--and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused--and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” 
― Sigrid Undset

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving Thanks...

Giving Thanks For....

...a cozy  home
...Quilts to warm us

...a little boy that loves my face
...a little boy that wants to take pictures of me all day long
...a little boy that rubs my face, kisses it and says "I take care of you."
...My beautiful Tristan River

... Making fairy houses with my kids
... having fairy houses all over MY house
... believing in magic 

... snowy days
... giggling faces
... brother-sister love
... Trinity's "layered" look
... My sweet Trinity Sky

... walking into a room and finding a sleeping baby on an unmade bed
... a little baby that puts himself down for a nap at 11 am :)
... my precious Finnian Arrow 

...soft baby skin
... carrot juice
... blond hair

... learning to paint
... creative outlets
... my make shift art studio :)
... having a kitchen to cook in
... having 6 boxes of tea

... funny faces
... first taste of organic apple cider
... Costco that lets me buy affordable organic food for my family
... My gorgeous Brayden Allen

... crafts
...organizational goodness
... bright rainbow colors
... gentle, soft colors

... finding someone's discarded art
... the human body
... a Maker that molds us, creates us and pronounces us "beautiful"

... a painting that cost $2.00
... inspiration
... the talents of others

... Thrifted treasure
... wooden toys

... a little boy and a Handy Manny pose
... finding a toy he will play with
... bare toes and Scottish hats
...accents, all kinds

... a man that serves his country
... a man that serves ME
... finding imported Lady Fingers
... Sprouts (the store and the food)

... thrifted treasures (oh yah, I already said that)
... toys that make learning fun!
... the privilege of teaching my kids
... the privilege of staying home with my babies

... walking into the living room and finding this lovely scene
... twinkle lights

... simple foods
... black bean soup that takes four ingredients
... apples - all kinds...I gobble them up
... my new church
... a pastor that I don't tune out for the first time in my life
... the gift of the season of Jesus

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Solved The Puzzle

I gave birth to four perfect babies in five years. 

Brady was born at a time of "new" for Zac and I. We had just bought our first home and Zac was beginning a new career as a firefighter. Brady was induced a week early - I was told that he would just be too big for me to have naturally if I "waited." I was given pitocin at 1 am and at about 10 am I was told that I wouldn't receive any "brownie points" if I had him naturally and they offered me an epidural when I was at my most vulnerable moment in labor (transition...unfortunately I didn't know I was in the home stretch of labor.) My doctor came in at 1 pm , give me an episotomy without my permission...and Brady was born , 7lbs 11oz. One hour later he was given his first vaccinations. Three week later I was encouraged to formula feed him since I "obviously" wasn't producing enough milk. WIC gave me Parent's Choice formula, I continued his Well Care Baby Check Ups. Everyone told me that he was one of the easiest babies. I remember going out with the soccer teams (Zac was coaching Select Soccer at the time) and the mothers would beg me if they could take Brady for the night because he was so sweet and responsive and full of life. Brady was born December 19th - I love the memories of me and my parents and Zac sitting on our living room couch, the Christmas tree twinkling and all of us laughing at how Brady could follow us with he eyes around the room, we would be in awe of how strong his neck was and how he could lift his head up off of our chests and hold it up for at least ten seconds before needing a rest. He was a perfect baby. Brady was sitting up by himself be 4 months, he was crawling at 6 months...he was running at 9 months. 

Trinity was born a little under two years after Brady. My doctor scheduled her to be induced on her due date because he said it was dangerous for a mother to carry her baby past a week "over due." I went to the hospital again at 1 am but instead of giving me pitocin I was given a 1/4 of a pill (not sure what it was) and within an hour my water had broken and I was in labor. They had no reason to give me the other 3/4. I had an epidural with Trinity as well - I felt like I was talked into it by the nurses. Trinity came out perfect and pink and full of life and she latched on right away. She was given her Hep B shot and Vitamin K. Thankfully I had no problems breastfeeding her. At two months old I took her in for her shots and I was horrified that they had already added an extra vaccine since Brady had been a baby. I got home and started questioning choices, our system...our immune systems. I decided I would either quit vaccinating all together or do the alternative vaccine schedule. Thankfully for Trinity I never had to use formula and as she grew I learned more and more about the awesome world of herbs, I learned about making informed decisions...I learned more about our awesome world and I was convicted about my role in taking care of the earth that God put me on ...isn't that one of our tasks ...being good stewards and caretakers of the world that He so fabulously created for us? 

My sweet Tristan River came along less than 2 years after Trinity's birth. Once again...I was suppose to be induced with Pitocin because my doctor said that if I went over my due date by a week he would refuse to treat me...that it was in the best interest of the baby. If you put it THAT way...don't all mothers what to do what's in the "best interest"?  The morning of my induction I woke up in labor and was SOO happy that I wouldn't need the "help" of pitocin. I checked into the hospital already in labor, told my nurse that I wouldn't be needing pitocin and she informed me that I would need to be put on it because it was in the doctor's orders. This time I had my paperwork all filled out and signed to refuse the vaccines and the eye drops - I got a pretty critical raised eyebrow from my awesome caring nurse and a speech about "do you understand the risks you are taking?"
 They hooked me up to the pitocin at 7 am and by 9 am I was convinced I would be having this baby soon - the contractions were really hard and terribly long. When I asked for them to check to see how far dilated I was the nurse would look down "there" and inform me that I was maybe at a 4. When I asked when my doctor was going to show up she told me he was in surgery at the moment and that he wasn't due to be out until after lunch. I felt a huge surge of panic. What?!!! I'm on pitocin (pitocin makes you have contraction after contraction with no time in-between to regroup, catch your's pretty nasty stuff) and I have no idea how i'm going to last for four more hours. I looked at Zac and told him that I felt like a failure because I knew I would need an epidural in order to have the strength to push Tristan out - I was already exhausted and if I was going to have to wait another 4 hours....there was just no way. They gave me an epidural and I relaxed. The doctor didn't show up at 12. I wondered if I was fully dilated and the nurse looked, shrugged and said "you are probably about a 7." She didn't actually "check" with her hands. At 3 pm my doctor walks into the room with a big smile on his face "are we ready to have this baby ?!" I looked at him confused and said "am I ready?!" He laughed and said "oh you couldn't be more ready, if I would have been here you would have had this baby at 10 this morning!"
 Tristan was born with the cord wrapped around his neck and was blue - he was over 8 pounds and beautiful. He didn't receive any vaccines, I didn't take him into the doctor EVER except for his one week check up - he was my amber teething necklace, cloth diapered, nursing champ baby. Tristan was gorgeous and calm and sensitive. He was so cuddly I nicknamed him "Koala." Tristan had good eye contact...he was soft spoken but started crawling on time and was walking sometime after his first birthday.

My next baby...number four...I was going to have a home birth with. I was tired of the guilt and the disappointment I was having from having hospital births. I had changed my thinking so much over the five years - I now viewed childbirth as a natural empowering experience...not a medical procedure that needed intervention after intervention. I had saved enough money to hire a midwife and got the awesome opportunity to view her home, the gorgeous birthing rooms and her photography of beautiful bellies with babies tucked in them....she captured the essence of "woman" in her camera lense so perfectly. I was 8 weeks along and so happy on my drive home from her house  - I was going to get my beautiful birth that I had always dreamed of.
 That afternoon I started miscarrying my baby. Two days later the little raisin size body came out of me...i held it in my hands in awe and in grief and so very sad and so very thankful for a God that can create life from just a bunch of cells and blood and LOVE. I had to have an emergency DNC.
 Finn was conceived 5 weeks later. Unfortunately the bill from the surgery was so big that I couldn't afford a midwife. We were on Medicaid and there were no midwives on that plan ... I went back to my old doctor.
 I went into labor with Finn 5 days after his due date and did NOT call my doctor - instead I went grocery shopping and then out for breakfast with Zac at Panera. I remember by the time we sat down to eat my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and very strong - I would find my focus (unfortunately my "focus" was some random man seated across from me) and I would just stare, glower....make him mush in my mind until the contraction passed. When we got home the contractions were 7 min apart so we left for the hospital. I arrived 8cm (so they said) along ...ran through the hall and said "I'm ready to have this baby!" My adrenaline was so high I could barely feel pain .... I started pushing 30 minutes later (that was as fast as they could seem to get me hooked up to the monitor...which I didn't want) and when my first push wasn't good...the doctor did all but roll his eyes and looked at the nurse and said "I don't know how to tell a woman who doesn't have an epidural how to push." Well...that did it buddy. I screamed like a warrior and exactly one hour after I had arrived at the hospital...out came my 9lb 13 oz Finnian Arrow Corley.

 Brady started changing close to his first birthday. He was obsessive, had out of this world meltdowns, he was super smart. Brady was diagnosed with high functioning autism three years ago.

 My sweet Tristan River became very very serious around the age of two. I remember him sitting outside in our gravel driveway and he would just scoop up pebbles and just watch them sift through his two little chubby hands - he would do this for hours. When we moved to Colorado in May 2011 I remember how he would go outside and just stare up at the sky - if a plane flew by he would be out of this world excited (planes fly by our house about 1 every ten minutes or's alot - yet his excitement level never changed.) He would throw things directly up in the air and just watch them fall...but he didn't seem to really be focusing on the object. He stopped communicating with words at all and instead would make Curious George noises to let me know what he would want. Tristan hated baths no matter what temperature the water, he would scream like I was torturing him. He couldn't (can't) stand the noise of the exhaust fans in the bathroom, vaccuum cleaners, blenders, loud voices or stern tones. Tristan was diagnosed with ASD this past spring 2012.

Finn has started to hate baths, he also screams. He doesn't like clothes at all. Finn has started throwing things up into the air and watching them fall. If he is in the basement and hears an airplane going overhead and he will run up the stairs and point at the sky and say "airplane" in the exact same tone - every time, without fail. Finn sleeps in shoes...he hates for them to come off. If we go on rides in the car, when we get home and take him out of the car and he crys to get back in the vehicle - even if he really wants to be home. I don't know what will happen...but the same signals are there and the same little nudges from before, the ones in my heart, are there. I'm trying to shove them away, then I try to go ahead and accept them NOW so that I won't be terribly dissapointed later....we will see with time.

 Autism is a puzzle. I don't know if any part of my birth stories had any part of my boys having ASD and sensory issues. I do know that Brady was not to big to push out like my doctor said - in fact he was a full 2.5 lb lighter than Finn...who I had with no interventions. The doctor lied.
 I had plenty of "milk" with all of my other babies - once again i feel like I was lied to. Brady was given Parent's Choice Formula which I now know has the highest level of GMO's out of all infant formula. I know that he had formaldehyde, thimersol, mercury...and lots of other ingredients injected into his little ten pound body...sometime three shots at one time. I was told that these were safe ingredients, that they were good for him - that they would keep him safe. I was lied to.

 As a mother, it's very hard not to take a child's diagnosis very personally. For me, I have gone back and forth over the past 3 years wondering if a choice I made has caused my son's autism. I don't just have one child with autism - I have two and I feel like my third son might also be on the spectrum. I definitely know that he has some sensory issues...time will tell. I think about how I changed my lifestyle so dramatically in between the birth of Brady...and five years later, Finn. The one thing though that didn't change that much was my diet, what I was exposed to...what might have still been in MY body from childhood until adulthood. Even if I avoided a lot of chemicals, I didn't know that my food was laced with toxins...with food dye, high fructose corn syrup...and the worst - genetically modified organisms.
 It's funny because when I took Tristan to the doctor to start his evaluation for autism - the doctor actually looked at me and said "there is no link between vaccines and have one child with autism that is fully vaxed and one that wasn't .... and you can see...there is really no difference. It is probably genetic." When I mentioned diet or the environment, she smiled one of those "this poor ignorant soul" smiles, and then dismissed my concerns.
 Hmmm...but I have no one in my family with autism. NO relatives with autism...neither does my husband. Then I started thinking about the word genetic...and GMO. There you go. Maybe it is genetic - this whole time I was just thinking of that word as "something passed down through my genes " and I never thought of the ARTIFICIAL genetics that I consume and my kids and ALL people in the US consume everyday, all the time....and have for a long long time.
 80 other countries in the world have banned GMO's. Some countries have banned certain vaccines...some vaccinate on a different schedule because they see the potential harm that some of the ingredients could cause a child. Ours doesn't.
 Why? Why would our beautiful country, the land of the free...the land of choice...not give us food choice? Why wouldn't they label our food? Why wouldn't they give us a paper with all the ingredients in our vaccines and actually HIGHLIGHT them where we can see them in the 8 page insert? Why would a doctor recommend that a pregnant mother take drugs during her pregnancy? Why would they risk the baby's health so that it can be born at a convenient time?  I asked "Don't they care about us? I mean...of course they must!"
 When Brady was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome 3 years ago 1 out of every 80 children in the US were diagnosed with autism. That is huge - I remember being blown away with those numbers. I have known a LOT of kids in my life. My parents traveled a lot, speaking at churches....I met a lot of people in my childhood from all different countries. I knew ONE kid with autism and it was the pretty severe flapping arms, non verbal kind of autism. I knew ONE my entire lifetime....until I had my son.
 When Tristan was diagnosed at the beginning of this year the numbers were 1 in 50 kids.
1 in 50. Somehow I got the 2 out of 100. Maybe soon I will find out that I have the 3 out of 150 - I don't know.

 Sin has caused my sons' autism. This is the only answer I can come up with. Solve the puzzle? I have.

 We live in an imperfect world. We live in a world full of sickness and greed. Greed has caused autism. The only reason why vaccines aren't studied out more is because it is a multibillion dollar industry. They CAN'T give ANY of them up. Our country doesn't want to label our food - that would cost them more money because they feel they wouldn't make as large of profits if they used more expensive foods. Doctors induce and give epidurals because they want the convenience...they don't want to hear a woman scream - OBGYNs are surgeons....they think of everything as a medical intervention. They view childbirth wrongly...but are too full of themselves to ever consider the fact that birth is natural. It should happen naturally if it can. Our air isn't clean....our water isn't clean....nothing is really truly clean. Nothing is perfect - my scalp is flaky, teenagers have massive breakouts, cancer has taken over our society, there are people every night in your town and mine that are hungry. It's an imperfect world because we are imperfect people with mixed up priorities.

I guess thinking about this I feel sad - my eyes always start tearing up because I think about how our country is playing Russian roulette with their citizens...with our future generation. What I do know is that when the numbers are 1 in 30 or 1 in 25 and all these kids are adults we are going to be in some big trouble as a society.

Some would like to say that God willed this. No He didn't and I refuse to believe that about my loving God. He gives me grace everyday to walk through my life, to love my life - to forgive myself for mistakes that I make when I handle a meltdown poorly or I have a "woe is me" attitude. My babies all were healthy, vibrant babies - My awesome Creator did not create autism - man did.

I don't want to be mad. Isn't their greed just as bad as ...well,  mine? Maybe on a different greed is that I want more house, better groceries...a piece of land. They want millions more, HUGE bucks - in God's eyes we are the same. He says that it's all the same - we are all imperfect people. Unfortunately, their greed and laziness and "looking out for number one" affects my life so dramatically - it affects my friend's lives dramatically. Me wanting chickens doesn't really affect corporate America very much. But, there are plenty of times in this life that my actions have affected someone else in pretty negative ways - my words, my actions - my stubbornness. I'm not without sin. Guilty.

Forgiveness is the only way I can cope with this pain...with this fear. It hurts when I think about the injustice that I feel - when all those years that I was trying to keep my little baby's body toxin free and would try to give him "mama  milk" and make all his foods by hand - and the whole time I didn't have a shot in hell I didn't have a chance. I couldn't stop this force - I can't stop it...I don't even know if there is a way I can get the bad stuff out of my kid's body so they can have some relief. I do know ... that I'm going to want to blame someone sometimes. At Christmas, when my kids can't open a gift without feeling overstimulated...or when they turn 16 and don't get to get a driver's license like all the friends they won't have...when they struggle to say the words "I love you" because they can't physically get the words out - I will probably feel a little bit angry and a LOT sad. When my child sees tears and doesn't feel compassion, when he jumps crazily and his scrawny little appendages flail about and his pants are pulled up to his chest because he isn't comfortable with them around his waist...and kids his age think he is a dork .... I will feel sad...maybe a little angry. Okay...probably REALLY angry. Mama bear may or may not come out to play.

When I look at my boy, I will smile - I will love those little skinny white legs...I will tolerate  be glad my son hikes up his pants and  doesn't walk around with them around his knees with his underwear sticking out...I will be proud that my child isn't too "cool" to show his excitement when something good happens to him. I will love him all of his life - I will be proud of him all of his life - I will take care of him as much as he needs me too all of his life. I will always be there for my boys.

I think I got 3 out of 3. No...not duds. I got three winners. You see, hope and love can turn anything around, even the effects of autism. If they are going to be greedy...I'm gonna fight...but I'm going to love - and I'm going to work my whole life to forgive them for their greed.

Sin has caused the "puzzle" of autism - it isn't going to be "solved." Don't get me wrong - I hope it changes...but people are going to be people, and as long as they are seeking dollars, well, we will see what happens.

Jesus has given us the answers on how to cope, how to endure...and how to thrive through this growing issue. He says to follow Him, to try to follow His example. We can love, we can choose to forgive - we can hope for change, we can try to demand it - but we can't point fingers at others...or as ourselves. We have to love ourselves, forgive ourselves, forgive the thoughtless power hungry world we live in. Judgmental people throw stones, spiritual people live the fruits of the spirit (throw fruit?)

When I see the blue puzzle piece that stands for autism with the words "Let's Solve the Puzzle" I think to myself -" we already have and unless we change the ENTIRE universe, I don't see the puzzle being solved anytime soon." If you don't have a child with autism, and you see a campaign you may think to yourself "oh, that's unfortunate...I wish that wouldn't have happened" but I'm pretty sure that the majority of people just go on with their day, their same routines, their same diets...same pills, same everything. No one cares enough because autism doesn't change their lives in a big way.

 My puzzle has been solved though. Knowing what to feed my kids or which therapies to try is still a huge overwhelming confusion - but knowing how to deal with the pain, the day to day.... I know what I'm suppose to do. Live like Jesus did. My pieces are in place. Now I will just sit back (yah right!) and pray that someone, somewhere....would take this issue seriously.

I gave birth to four perfect babies - almost 8 years later...I am the mother to four perfect kids in an imperfect world. It's pretty beautiful to be me.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Project Friday

 This little girl is what you would call "silly." No. It's more than that. She is "joyful." She is genuine. She is authentic. She is one of a kind.

 A very special kind.  A one eyed "aye matey" variety. 

A "Gee I have an idea" girl. She is a "missing teeth is the new look and I'm proud of it" type.

She is a "pearl lover, dirty fingernails" type - she loves to be fancy but isn't afraid to get her hands dirty.

She's a grimace. She's a distant stare....a dreamer.

She's a blue eyed beauty, a character...a mother's delight and a body full of giggles. She's awesome.

You're wondering what her pictures have to do with my title "Project Friday" aren't you. I'll tell you. Nothing. The pictures were just too cute to keep to myself.
 This is my project. No, I didn't lay flooring or create this entry way. What I'm wanting to point out to you is the door you see on the leads to my basement which leads to the kids play area, my bedroom and my workout area (read that "place where I should work out.") The problem with the "said" door is where it's located - in a narrow hallway and is right across from our coat closet. Grrr...the coat closet and it's sliding finger pinching's unorganized mess that never brings me peace. The high traffic door way, also right next to the stairway that  leads to the kid's rooms, across from the coat closet AND the front door. I bring you the thorn in my flesh.
 What to do?
  This is the mess - so embarrassing even showing you. The pile on the floors happens to be our reusable shopping bags, our plastic bags, there are some rags for cleaning somewhere in there - the sentence "go grab me a rag" and then actually carrying that task out is a lot more complicated then it should be. There are probably a few mix matched shoes under a few mix matched winter hats, lost gloves and my sewing machine is somewhere in there. What a mess.
  I started by asking my dear hubby to take the doors off the closet. I like the fact that I can shut the doors and then avoid my mess - but really...who does that help? So, open them baby...let the world see our real colors - let them see our coats and our bags and our rags!!!
 Then, myself with four kids in tow...a trip to Ross in search of some inexpensive organizing tools. I was thinking maybe some boxes for the above shelf and then maybe a little storage unit - some hooks - that sort of thing. I found a couple of boxes for five dollars and under so that was a pretty good score. I also found a little white shelf on sale for 13 dollars that I would need to assemble.
 Trin helped me clear out the closet and then I got the fun job of reorganizing and sorting and all of that stuff. The OCD in me was having a blast - I even forgot to make kids lunch (I really did. Don't worry...they reminded me and bananas and quesadillas were had by all.)

 My finished product. Oh yes...take it in - all of that organized goodness. In a perfect world my little 13 dollar shelf would be a perfect square and have SIX box spaces, not three. will do - and I had a blast with the drill.
 I also organized all of my photos from last Thanksgiving until the end of this last summer. I'm all ready to be able to print from September - December 2013 when December is over with. Is it bad that sometimes I want a month to be over just so I can go ahead print pictures  and stay ahead of the photo printing I also wrote in the front of my album what was in the album...for instance 'Christmas 2012, Tristan's 4th birthday..." so on and so forth. When I die someday in my late 90's I don't want my kids being confused about what happened when - I'm thoughtful that way. Some people may have a different word for it....

And now - for my new series to tag along with project Friday...we will call it "How I Didn't Actually Save Money Because I Spent Money."

Item #1 - a Lucky Brand outfit for Trin....$11.00 bucks from TJMaxx. I don't usually buy my kids new clothes - most of their things are second hand. BUT...she has been needing leggings and I haven't actually found any at the thrift store and the ones at Target are s$6.00 a pair - in my world that is highway robbery. So, to find a cute little boho number like this that also compliments her flower child mentality - score.
And look at that little detail on the ankle ? So cute...and she can use the pieces to mix match. Win win.

Item #2 - Batman hoodie from Costco for $9.99. How many of you are aware of the cost of little kid costumes? Outrageous. little batman lover gets to dress up like batman (the hood has a built in mask which I didn't know about until we got home) and this is also very thick and i got it in a 6 so it should fit him next winter too. We give this deal a thumbs up.

And really, for this face, a mother would give her teeth. Heart? Right Arm? All of them.

Item #3 - absolutely free dollhouse furniture. I used a piece of Styrofoam that came in a box I got in the mail today, some old scraps...and my trusty hot glue gun. I LOVE my hot glue gun.

It took me a total of about 20 minutes and the Koala family is sitting very comfortably this evening - and a little girl's smile got just a bit brighter (and I got a thank you note.) Win win.

Item #4 - I found this ornament from last year that I had bought after Christmas 75% off. I whipped out my wood burner and turned it into our family ornament for the year. Cute or cheesy?

And that my dear readers concludes my project Friday and "How I Didn't Save Money With My Great Deals" or whatever you want to call it - it was a good, long, productive day. Now I sit in my living room enjoying my twinkle lights and my star adorned corner and I leave you with just one little bitty thought.
 Tis the season of Christ's birth. Well, Tis the season that we Christians choose to celebrate Christ's birth for those of you who would like to argue dates and all that jazz. Anyways, I try my best not to be a consumer - not to get so wrapped up in the decor and the gifts and the holiday chaos. But, I love that stuff. I really really do. I also love Christ - I really really do. So, this is what I'm going to do so that I can enjoy my holiday season without all of the guilt of "I'm not really concentrating on the meaning of the season."
  I'm going to get all of my gifts bought THIS month...I think I have all of them but one. I love to give gifts - I will always buy gifts at Christmas because it's SOOOO fun. I also love going into the store and hearing Christmas music and seeing twinkling trees and fancy hot cocoa mix and all that jazz. I'm not going to deny myself that joy. It's joy. It's part of life...and God wants us to enjoy our lives.  But...when December get's here I'm going to really focus on the love of Christ and what His birth means. I'm going to do crafts with the kids, we are going to bake, we are going to read stories in the evenings and be a family and leave all of the commercialized Christmas behind. Hopefully we can make most of the Christmas services at church and the pageants and watch a video about the Christmas story with piping hot cups of cocoa and fresh popped popcorn - and really celebrate being together and being loved my Him.  We will really celebrate Christ's birth.
 Christmas Eve we will read the Christmas story and thank God for sending us His precious Son. Then, when kids are tucked in...we will bring out all of the gifts. I won't have them out until Christmas Eve - that way they are not having to stare at them and try to focus on others and the Christmas message AND wonder what is in the boxes.
Then...when Christmas morning comes I'm going to let them enjoy their gifts and also giving gifts to others. I'm not going to read the Christmas story directly before opening presents because, for me, I don't think a child at that point would really be concentrating on the miracle of Christ - they want to rip open some boxes. For us, I think this is a good plan...especially with some of our kids different needs. So...all the way up until Thanksgiving I'm enjoying getting our house ready for Christmas. I'm shopping for craft ideas to do during the holidays and I have wrap and ribbons already bought - so that HOPEFULLY we can stay out of stores during the chaos of December!  After Thanksgiving and until Christmas, we will get our hearts and minds ready for the message of Jesus.
 Happy Weekend!